Share #mychessfestival

Blogs are dead. Most local blogs except mine of course (ok thinly veiled attempt to rustle some blogs to activity again).

So my call to arms is for everyone to hashtag whatever they share on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogs, Youtube etc) with #mychessfestival whenever you post or share something about the coming Malaysian Chess Festival 2017.

This way we can have a large pool of user contributed media to enjoy later.

Institute for Chess Excellence,Puchong first tourney

The tournament in Chess Institute for Excellence starts with Category 4 & 5 on July 9.
Limited to 80 participants
FIDE 1200-1500 and below : Category 4 
FIDE 1200 and below : Category 5 
(without FIDE ratings will be considered to be Category 5).
Entry fee : RM 20 
5 rounds minimum.
Prizes and Certs
60 percent scores and above in three Category 5 tournaments will qualify a player as Category 4.
70 percent cores and above in two Category 4 tournaments will qualify a player as Category 3.
Certificates will be awarded to all winners.
70 percent of collection will be returned as prizes distributed equitably with one prize given per 10 players, and 30 percent will be retained to subsidise expenses including the cost of venue, the arbiters, etc.
Time Control : 15 minutes
Schedule (9 July 2017):
8:00 – 9:00 Registration Confirmation
10:00 – 10:30 Round 1
10:45 – 11:15 Round 2
11:30 – 12:00 Round 3
12:15 – 12:45 Round 4
13:30 – 14:00 Round 5
14:15 – 14:45 Round 6
15:00 – 15:30 Round 7
16:00 Awards Ceremony
Please refer to Catur Malaysia for details and registration.

Learning thru Osmosis

According to an online dictionary, osmosis means

  1. a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.
  2. the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.

I am referring to the second definition. You can learn something thru immersion and exposure.

Today, I visited ICE master class session by IM Alex Wohl.It just resonated with me when Peter Long was explaining to some parents how chess players being in a group together can challenge each other to attain greater heights.

This was surprising to me because I’ve always thought of chess  as solitary effort with a coach (or two or three) and parent(s) as support.

Learning thru osmosis is something I have long believed worked in other non-chess areas like programming. The invaluable things I’ve learnt being up close to talented programmers taught me things I never would have learnt in a class or any training session. And it doesn’t mean that there is direct teaching taking place either.

I remember once a programmer friend called me over and showed me how he was making the cursor spin. Mind you this was the era of DOS and changing the normal operating system blinking cursor to a spinning one was unheard of. It showed me what was possible. My friend never showed me how he did it but I made an effort to learn it myself. My limited perception of the impossible was changed forever.

Another  proof of “learning thru osmosis” I see is in Starcraft. Starcraft brings in serious money from sponsors and part of that money besides coaches, food, uniforms, etc also pay for   “team houses”. The close proximity of like minded people results in effective exchange of ideas, strategies and friendly competitive atmosphere makes everyone push each others skills to the next level. Everyone benefits and it doesn’t matter if you are the weaker or the stronger of the players.

Players believe in this. So do sponsors. Otherwise there’d be no money channeled in to this.

Can chess come anywhere near the level as this? The commitment is great. They have moved out from their homes  to stay with other players long term to train, to learn and to ultimately benefit from each other.

Chess players meeting once in a while to compare notes, periodic sparring session and brief centralised training  can never compare with this.

Will chess ever have serious investment like time and money into actual places to house professional players in one place like Starcraft?

The answer is most likely never. However if chess goes in this direction but adopts similiar albeit less serious set ups like team houses, there can still be benefits reaped from learning thru osmosis.

A visit to the Institute of Chess Excellence (ICE), Puchong

This preview talk by the all new chess centre was on the 10th of June, 2017.

For those going there, look for this building as the landmark. Corner building, Restoran Stone Steam Pot. (The abbreviation ICE (or TICE) is mine because I hate to type out long names 🙂 )

A word of advice, if you are going on a weekend, don’t be picky about the parking spot. I took the first vacant spot I saw because from experience, I don’t want to circle the place endlessly looking for the nearest place to park. It gets pretty crowded on weekends.

The one I picked was a little further but since this is a relatively small business area, it was only 2 minutes walk.

It’s free parking on weekends.


Incidentally the place is a Pokemon Go stop 🙂

For those going by public transport, there is the LRT. Just stop at Taman Perindustrian Puchong LRT station (which incidentally holds the distinction for the longest name among the LRT stops). After crossing the overhead bridge, the chess centre is only 4 minutes normal walking speed. 2 minutes if you run ! 🙂


“Stonemaster” Fadli is also here and listening intently!

All chess sets here are wooden pieces which is really nice.


The prime person and Director at ICE here is FM/FT Peter Long.  

I like that Maxis internet is super fast here. But that also means my quota will finish super fast too if I’m not careful.

Pictures of famous chess personalities with frame.

 The preview clashed with other events but still the attendance is more than respectable.

I didn’t take notes and many things were discussed and presented about training juniors but one thing that stuck with me is Peter’s explanation about the mundane. It is the mundane and boring process that improves chess the most and there are no short / fast quick fixes. It is the boring, repetitive processes like doing tactical exercises, reading up, keeping up with opening nuances etc.  This is where coaches can help my formulating training plans and directing students to what is more important so as to maximise the limited time and resources.

Also the focus is on junior training (U-9,U,11, U13, U19) so if you are some big and old buffalo over 19 like me, you can forget it. But there are still the regular rated (IM tournaments!!) , unrated tournament at the centre to look forward too.

The new chess centre is already becoming very active with training sessions and tournaments. Tentative schedule is:

Please check for the latest schedule at ICE website and Facebook page as there may be changes.

Again, I really like that ALL the chess pieces here are wooden 🙂

Stonemaster Fadli and Mr Michael Yeap chatting while waiting for the registration for the ad-hoc blitz event.



Blitz registration!

The start of blitz!

Winner of blitz: Lye Lik Zang

No need to go into details but I remember over a decade ago Peter Long’s similiarly suggested program cooperating with  MCF for training sadly died a premature death because of some problems and resistance. Glad that it finally has a chance now.

My conclusion from the preview:

Not to take anything away from hard working local coaches as there are many doing their bit training the kids but what ICE is doing is by far  the most ambitious, comprehensive and focused junior training program I have seen. Also, from the preview it was stressed there is no competition with local coaches as what ICE is doing is different. Exciting times!!

Related links:

National Junior Development Training Program Preview

Keep this coming Saturday (June 10, 2017) free for National Junior Development Training Program Preview.
There were a ton of interesting chess events taking place just before Ramadhan but I skipped all of them as they all appear pretty typical. This one however gets my attention.
 The venue:
69 Jalan Puteri 2/3 Puchong New Village, Selangor, Malaysia.
The place is called  The Institute for Chess Excellence (TICE?).
What’s it about this preview thingy? I am not sure but I will definitely try to attend (if I can be awake in time) to find out and blog about it.  I am sure many other chess players/trainers/students etc will be going too.
In their about page :
It says:
“The Institute for Chess Excellence seeks to develop and provide best of its kind education and training programs for chess excellence and to grow, support, and enable local chess communities in Malaysia and the region.”
Sounds interesting and promising.
In their Facebook page they mention they will be officially opened on the 29th June (after Ramadhan fasting period).
Also, to find out more, check out their new website at
New, but they already have affiliations with MCF which names the Institute of Chess Excellence as it’s National Chess Academy.
Also after the preview (between 4-8pm) there will be blitz chess and Buka Puasa food.

The Springboard Years

Yeoh Li Tian fantastic performance strengthens my belief that 16 to 20 are the “spring board years” for teenagers to achieve some impressive feats. Not detracting or taking anything away from Li Tian’s talent or hard work, it’s just something I have observed from experience.

Li Tian is 18 years old.

Mental aquity peaks at age 25.

Some stats in ELO rating over age seems to back this up.

Graph from

So the bad news is it’s downhill after the age of 30. Sure there are exceptions like people maintaining their chess strengths like Korchnoi and players attaining GM titles at age 55 but those are the really rare exceptions. For many, (myself included) they just fall into the main stats.

As for me, personally, I remember writing the snake game program (from the old Nokia phone) in Pascal in one day- a programming language I just learnt during that “springboard” years. Looking back I don’t think I can do the same today.

So kids, if you are in the lucky age range. Make full use of this time to choose what you want to excel in !  Especially don’t waste your time writing the Snake program 🙂

Yeoh Li Tian on fire!

That’s the first image that came to mind looking at Li Tian’s incredible performance at the on going 2017 Zone 3.3 Championship (Open).

No need to rehash what other’s been posting in Facebook and other blogs but in case you were left out, this is a strong tourney consisting of 9 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters. As of the time of writing, Li Tian is still the leader of the tournament after 7 rounds and is unbeaten. Strong players scalped by Li Tian include GM Antonio Rogelio, IM Oliver Dimakiling and Liu Xiang Yi.


 picture courtesy of Gilbert Haridas
picture courtesy of Gilbert Haridas


Picture from


Also there is talk of Li Tian getting a GM norm for his fantastic performance here with two more rounds to go. We will wait for comfirmation..


Standings after 7 rounds:-

Rk. Name Rtg Pts.
1 FM YEOH Li Tian 2449 6
2 GM NGUYEN Ngoc Truong Son 2629 5.5
3 IM DIMAKILING Oliver 2405 4.5
4 FM ANDYKA Pitra 2390 4.5
5 FM LIU Xiangyi 2443 4.5
6 GM MEGARANTO Susanto 2527 4.5
7 IM NGUYEN Van Huy 2413 4.5
8 GM BARCENILLA Rogelio 2455 4.5
9 IM PASCUA Haridas 2440 4.5
10 SEVILLANO Rhenzi Kyle 2037 4
11 GM NGUYEN Huynh Minh Huy 2433 4
12 FM NGUYEN Anh Khoi 2459 4
13 IM TIN Jingyao 2436 3.5
14 IM BERSAMINA Paulo 2409 3.5
15 FM SETYAKI Azarya Jodi 2336 3.5
16 CM PANGILINAN Stephen Rome 1982 3.5
17 GM ANTONIO Rogelio Jr 2465 3.5
18 GM GOMEZ John Paul 2481 3.5
19 FM PRIASMORO Novendra 2379 3.5
20 GM DAO Thien Hai 2478 3.5
21 GM LAYLO Darwin 2445 3.5
22 IM GOH Wei Ming Kevin 2457 3.5
23 GM SADORRA Julio Catalino 2596 3.5
24 IM GARMA Chito 2336 3.5
25 IM NOLTE Rolando 2394 3
26 FM PACIS Adrian 2124 3
27 FM ABELGAS Roel 2318 3
28 IM NGUYEN Van Hai 2353 3
29 IM GARCIA Jan Emmanuel 2444 3
30 CM LEE Jun Wei 2137 3
31 JACUTINA John Merill 2041 2.5
32 MICIANO John Marvin 2273 2.5
33 FM NOURI Alekhine 1954 2.5
34 SOL CRUZ Raul 0 1.5
35 CRUZ Orlando 0 1
36 ENDRINA Julius 1645 1

Check out his progress at


Related link:

Bulletin Catur Malaysia report on Li Tian

Festival Catur Putrajaya 2017 – Pictorial Report

Having announced I have retired from blogging about chess events a long time ago, it’s strange you see this new blog being created.

So with corrections, I am just “semi-retired” and will blog on occation for special and rare events.

Festival Putrajaya 2017 is just one of those rare event simply because I was invited by Norazwan (better know as “Shin Azwan”) from AI Chess to blog about it. Not only that…

I was surprised be included into the Whatsapp FCP Technical Team as a “reporter”. Even had a T-shirt size assigned (although I didn’t get it  🙁 ).

Update: Just got a whatsapp message and they kept a T-shirt for me after all 🙂 

I am honoured as my blogging services was required so I had no choice but to go!

The event was held at Wisma Seri Wilayah, Putrajaya and being my first time there, I lost my way because my Waze lost internet connection just as I reached Putrajaya. As a result I parked 10 minutes away from the actual venue but still arrived in nick of time before the first round started.

I was greeted by the sight of Chief Arbiter Najib Wahab giving instructions to his numerous floor arbiters.

The first thing that hit me was the sheer size of the tournament.

The tournament took up 3 floors of the building with an estimated 1500 players taking part ! That’s not including parents who were there. The event was massive to say the least.

I could have done a better job blogging live if not for the hiccups I had with my internet. For that, I accept my gaji kena potong   for this event 🙂

Still I managed to get a couple of pictures to make this pictorial report.

Finally Shin Azwan cornered me for a AI Chess app picture endorsement. I should hit AI Chess for an endorsement fee!

Also, notable was the huge projected screens in the hall for all the DGT boards which was also broadcasted live on the internet.

The facilities of Wisma Seri Wilayah was impressive. Big TV screens were plenty, showing boards as well as live videos of the event. (The videos were broadcasted live via Youtube as well as Facebook Live).

I spent most of my time in the “junior hall” with the U9 and U12 since the control centre (Chief Arbiter) and all of the screens is centered here.


As a result, I regretfully missed bloging about the drama that took place on the open section played at the 7th floor like the clash between IM Mas and Abdullah Che Hassan.  Unfortunately too, the Open boards were not recorded by the DGT boards because of the segregated floors and some technical issues trying to sync the Open with the junior categories timing of the rounds.

Tech was used to the fullest. From the big screens and to the apps as well as the internet. Parents can check for pairings and results live for their child as it is posted immediately to

Also, pairings were entered via phone apps (updating Swiss Manager immediately!) by floor arbiters making this a precedent in Malaysia. Of course there were hiccups in it’s first time use but it is promising to see chess tournaments going high tech like this.

My other excuse for not being able blog round by round reports is the sheer amount of “distraction” this one day event has. There is mural painting competition taking part outside as well as GenX competitions etc. Chess was not the only main focus here.


There were chess booths with books, chess equipments and T-shirt being sold.

I would have bought this nice magnetic wooden chess set (RM220) if I had not already have a DGT chess board.

I was impressed by the sheer number of people present for the prize giving as previous local tournaments only had the prize winners staying back while the majority have already left. Not so here. Almost all who took part stayed back!

Of course the fact that the organisers prepared attractive lucky draw prizes(hover boards, bicycles etc) also helped in this fact.

Another thing that impressed me was how loud and clear the kids were singing to the National Anthem at the closing ceremony.


Prize winners from the various categories.

IM Oliver Dimakiling won the Open event taking home RM 1000 while Malaysians NM Timothy Evan Capel and IM Mas Hafizulhelmy took 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Full results at and my crosstable results will be posted later.

Overall the organisation of the event was superb and everything went smoothly with only some mistakes like one misrecording of a result and perhaps the missed chance of live coverage using DGT boards for the Open section.

For an ambitious event of this size, the organisers must be commended for an professional, excellent and job well done. It is impressive to see all the result of  planning and organisation coming to fruition in this one day event.

Records Breaking Event

Of course, the event breaks many records but the organisers chose the biggest children chess event in Malaysia (1224 participants!) which is entered in to Malaysian Book or Records. Also the event is easily the biggest ever if it includes the Open section (1490 participants) too.

Just one example of the numerous things that were excellently and professionally presented is this video montage created on the go while the event was being held and displayed on the big screen at the prize giving.

(take note a drone was used to take the aerial view!)


Have a look…


I give a big thanks to the organisers for inviting me as well mentioning my chess portal in their flyers as well as  in the choosing title for each category in chess-results!!

And finally I am very proud to be part of the team (even just as a lowly blogger)


And finally, major media coverage for this event was extensive too :


Some comments from the parents and players: